Wealdstone and Ickenham Youth Football Clubs to make playing sites their permanent home

Monday 19 February, 2024: Hillingdon Council is working with Wealdstone and Ickenham Youth Football Clubs to help them to take on long-term leases of their playing grounds thanks to support from Middlesex FA, the Premier League, The FA and the government's Football Foundation.

Young girl footballers from Wealdstone FC
Wealdstone, a grassroots youth football club established in 2008, provides football for 49 youth teams of mixed abilities aged between four and 18 at New Pond Playing Fields, Ruislip. 

Ickenham is an inclusive community football club formed in 2006, which offers football for more than 500 young people (13 age groups) aged between four and 18 at Hillingdon House Farm, Uxbridge.  
Following successful applications last year by the council, both clubs have been accepted onto the Football Foundation's Home Advantage Programme, which aims to support grassroots clubs and organisations across the country to take on long-term leases or licences of the sites they play at. 

Wealdstone and Ickenham Youth Football Clubs will have access to guidance and support from the Foundation and The FA as part of the programme, as well as legal advice to help make the transfer process as easy as possible. 

They can also apply for up to £250,000 funding from the Foundation to improve facilities at the sites. This could include purchasing security fencing, storage units, ground maintenance machinery and catering cabins. 

Having a permanent home will enable the organisations to not only further cement their place in the community, but also to support them to grow and generate their own income.  

Cllr Eddie Lavery, Hillingdon Council's Cabinet Member for Residents' Services,said: "We are delighted to have been successful in these two bids for Wealdstone and Ickenham Youth Football Clubs and I'm especially proud of the fact that Hillingdon was the only successful London borough for the first phase of this exciting programme. I'm now looking forward to seeing how these sites are improved. 

"This national scheme supports our commitments of creating a thriving local economy and healthy households, and will allow these clubs to take more ownership of the places they call home and create more sustainable assets for the local community." 

Spencer Dargue, Chairman Wealdstone Youth FC,said:"Securing the New Pond Playing Fields site for Wealdstone Youth FC will have a massively positive impact on the future for our club. 

"Since 2008, our club has grown into one of the largest grassroots football clubs in the area. It will aid our continued presence within the local community as a hub for local boys and girls to develop their footballing talent.  

"More importantly, it will provide the security to enable us to offer a safe, fun, sporting environment for thousands of local children over the next 20 plus years." 

Gavin Shepherd, Chairman Ickenham Youth FC,said: "Ickenham Youth FC is really pleased to have been awarded a place on the Football Foundation's Home Advantage Programme.  

"It will support the club to secure its home for many years to come and allow us to further invest in our facilities to benefit our players and the wider community. 

"We hope to use this opportunity as a way of building a closer connection with those outside our football community and hope to see as many people as possible supporting our players on a Saturday and Sunday. 

"We would like to acknowledge Hillingdon Council and Middlesex FA in working with us on the initial expression of interest to join the programme and look forward to sharing details of our progress in due course." 

Robert Sullivan, CEO of the Football Foundation, said: "The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners - the Premier League, The FA and Government - to unlock the power of pitches for more grassroots clubs and enable them to take pride and ownership in the place they call home. 

"Through our Home Advantage Programme, the Foundation plans to provide the support and funding needed to transfer over 1,750 grass football pitches like those at New Pond Playing Fields from local authorities to grassroots clubs and organisations across the country. 

"As well as a higher chance of success on the pitch, home grounds provide a space for people to come together through sport and help strengthen communities based on a shared sense of belonging."


Page last updated: 22 Feb 2024